Everything old is new again! The historic theatre on Main Street in Westhampton Beach took a brief intermission in January to lovingly restore the theatre to its finest for what is expected to be the best season ever - its 15th Anniversary.
In the 1990s, the vacant movie theater on the corner of Main Street in the village of Westhampton Beach had become an eyesore to the community. At the heart of this quaint seaside village sat an old shuttered building amongst empty storefronts.
Then, thanks to the concerned citizens of the Greater Westhampton Area, the building was transformed into a multi-use performing arts center. Since officially opening its doors on July 4, 1998, the WHBPAC has welcomed close to 600,000 guests into its completely renovated and restored house; its marquee shining brighter than ever! The theatre has most certainly become the heartbeat of the Greater Westhampton Area, and has greatly impacted the local economy by bringing in people from all over the world to eat, shop, vacation and live.
In celebration of 15 years as a vital part of the community, the WHBPAC's Executive Director Clare Bisceglia initiated this refurbishment project which guarantees that the theatre will look as sparkling new in 2013 as it did the day it opened its doors. Clare considers this initiative her gift back to the community. "Without the generous support of this community, the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center wouldn't exist. This refurbishment project is our way of giving back to the community and ensuring that this jewel-box of a theatre maintains its national reputation for excellence. We want to provide not only the highest possible standard of world-class entertainment, but also the finest theatre-going experience."
In 2012, the WHBPAC Board of Directors established a Building and Grounds Committee and Chairman of the Board, Tom Poole, appointed Board Member Dr. Stanly Zinberg as the Committee's Chairman. Committee and Board Member Anthony Bonner of Sea Level Construction hand-picked Anna Zaleski of Savvy Style Interiors in Westhampton Beach as Project Manager, having worked successfully with her in the past. Anna's experience and knowledge about materials, construction and the entire building process made her the perfect candidate to lead the team of community workers.
As part of the project, the interior of the theater has been painted, the stage floor has been refinished, elegant new carpet has been installed throughout the venue, and a new lighting system replaced the previous system in the main lobby and hall, amongst other painstaking details. And thanks to a significant lead gift from summertime residents and philanthropists, Don & Rose Ciampa, the outdated 35mm film projector will be replaced with a state-of-the-art digital cinema projector.
Day to day, Anna supervised a professional team of workers who approached the renovation with diligence and experience. "As an interior design project manager," says Anna "my focus was to preserve the rich details of the theater."
Anna worked closely with Eric Ince of Ince Painting in Westhampton Beach for the decorative and restoration painting; Lew Mohrmann, Jr. of Beach Electric in Quogue for the lighting and electrical work; the elite Stark Carpet of New York for the luxurious new carpet; Allen Hass of AIDE Interior Decorators in Bayport for the restoration of upholstery and curtains; the crew at Sea Level Construction of Westhampton for construction needs; and Lorrie Loechner, a decorative painter who meticulously beautified the faux finishes. Photographer Jessica Guadano documented each stage of the project in a portfolio of photos.
Paying careful attention to the beautiful historical details throughout the theater, the team finished the project on time, on budget, and with the highest quality. "My philosophy throughout the process was that working together, a community can accomplish anything," says Anna. "This theater's outstanding character and design will serve the local community for many years to come!"
SUPPORT WHBPAC: Learn about the creative ways to contribute at www.whbpac.org/pages/ways.php.